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November 07, 2017

Former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, 40, confirmed dead in plane crash

Two-time Cy Young Award winner and former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in Florida over the Gulf of Mexico early on Tuesday afternoon.

Halladay was 40 years old.

According to the Pasco County (Fla.) Sheriff’s department, the Florida Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard, Pasco Fire Department, and Pasco Sheriff's Office all responded to the scene of the crash of a “small, personal plane” after a call came in from a residence near the scene. They reported that there was one fatality at the scene and no survivors.

Word quickly began spreading through social media that the plane might belong to Halladay, an avid flyer in his post-playing career.

Shortly after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department held the first of two press conferences on Tuesday (just after 3 p.m.) it was confirmed that the plane, an ICON A5 light sport aircraft, was owned by Halladay.

It was then confirmed what most feared – that Halladay was, in fact, the fatality at the scene – in a second press conference held at 4:15 p.m.

"We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death," the Phillies said in a statement. "There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game.  It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden.

Halladay, who returned to the Phillies last spring as a roving instructor, was one of the best pitchers of his generation with credentials that will likely lead to owning a plaque at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.

Halladay went 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA, in his 16-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. He won two Cy Young Awards (in the American League with Toronto in 2003 and in the National League in his first year with the Phillies in 2010), he pitched on of the 23 perfect games in baseball history, and he also authored one of just two postseason no-hitters in the storied history of the game.

During the 11-year span between 2001 and 2011, Halladay had few if any peers. Halladay went 175-78 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 64 complete games, and 19 shutouts in 321 games. He arrived in Philadelphia in December of 2009 in a trade from Toronto. Halladay announced his retirement from baseball at the Winter Meetings four years ago, following two injury-ravaged years with the Phillies.

In addition to his prowess on the mound, Halladay was one of the most respected leaders in the game, with a work ethic that few could match even as he entered his mid-30s in a veteran-laden Phillies clubhouse.

"We will all remember Roy for his amazing moments on the field, how he dialed it up in the most important situations, how he competed and left his heart on the field every time he took the ball," Brad Lidge said via text message on Tuesday. "But he was an incredible dad, an incredible husband and an incredible teammate.  He was quiet and thoughtful, but knew how to be playful.  I competed against Roy since we were in little league, I will remember him in that way, and as a man.  It was a privilege to know him and his family, and to have been his teammate.  Our hearts go out to Brandy, his kids, and his family." 

Halladay arrived in Philadelphia during the height of the Phillies' reign in the last decade and arrived with the hype and hoopla perhaps only matched by Jim Thome’s free agent signing eight years earlier. Halladay met those immense expectations almost immediately, putting forth one of the best seasons of his career in 2010 (a Cy Young Award, perfect game, no-hitter in first career playoff game) and followed it up with an equally splendid 2011, when he finished runner-up for the Cy Young Award (his seventh top-5 finish for the award in his career).

And now the beloved former Phillie and Blue Jays ace is gone.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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